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SOLVED: Where Should The Windows Page File Go?

dell-ssd-page-fileThe page file (aka. swap file) is the place Windows stores active data that it cannot fit into RAM.  In days of yore, the simple rule was to put the page file on a disk separate from the operating system and to make that file 1.5 times the size of the memory you have in the computer.

In the world of 2018, servers have vast amounts of memory that are running clustered Virtual Machines from shared disk.  It is common to have only a couple of small SSD’s on your cluster servers.

As you can see in the screen shot to the right, Dell still pops up a “how large do you want your partitions” question when firing up a new Windows Server 2016.

I recently asked Microsoft to clarify this point and this is what they said:

Storing the page file on a different partition of the same drive as Windows increases the hard drive seek times and will reduce system performance. So we highly recommend that put page file to a same partition if your system partition has enough space.

And all you think is correct, there are people that suggest using an HDD as a second drive for a page file, reducing the overall read/writes done to the SSD, and extending the life of the drive. However, today’s SSD are rated to transfer 20 GB+ of data daily for 5-years and often have a MTBF of 1,000,000 hours, which is well beyond what the average user does on their computer. Moving the page file to a slower hard drive can cause the computer to have to wait for the slower HDD to catch up to the SS

Also THIS Microsoft Technet article says:

The old rules of thumb (Page file size = RAM * 1.5 or RAM * 2) makes no sense in modern systems, where the logic should be: the more RAM you have, the less you need paging file.

The simple rules in 2018 are now:

  1. Make sure you have lots of RAM, it’s pretty cheap these days
  2. Make sure you have fast disk, most likely an SSD
  3. Keep your page file on the C:\ drive with your Windows Operating System
  4. Leave the default LET WINDOWS MANAGE THE PAGE FILE SIZE

Enjoy!

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